A qualifying battle between the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P and the pair of Acuras fielded by Team Penske ended with Mazda Team Joest on top as the owners of a new track record and the pole position for Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at the aptly named Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
After a rainy Friday, the classic Mid-Ohio circuit continued to rubber in with each lap during Saturday’s third practice and each class’ 15-minute qualifying outing.
Early in the DPi session, Pipo Derani appeared quick in the No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R. but early contact with Helio Castroneves’ Acura ARX-05 called into question the viability of both cars, especially with visible front-end damage to the No. 7 Acura ARX-05. Both drivers played into the battle for the pole along with two others — Jarvis and Penske’s Dane Cameron — who were also under the track record of 1:11.837 set by Castroneves last year.
On his last flying lap, Jarvis executed a 1:10.705 to establish a new record at Mid-Ohio and secure the pole for Mazda. While his closest competition completed 12 laps, Jarvis made only 10 trips around the 2.258-mile circuit, partially as a result of running out of fuel mere seconds before completing a flying lap and rolling into the pits early.
Working past the crawling, powerless Mazda during the final sector of his final flying lap, Castroneves was unable to improve his time enough to eclipse Jarvis’ time, settling for second on the starting grid at 0.022 seconds off the pole.
Cameron held on to give Acura a 2-3 finish in the class on the strength of a 1:10.806 — the third and final lap on the DPi qualifying results quicker than 71 seconds.
Derani, though near the top of the order for much of the session, was relegated to fourth by the time the checkered flag waved. His 1:11.721 was the best of the Cadillac DPi-V.R contingent but was more than a second off Jarvis’ pole-earning pace. Joao Barbosa completed the top five in the other Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, driving in place of Harry Tincknell in the No. 55 Mazda DPi, qualified sixth ahead of Renger van der Zande, Simon Trummer, Will Owen and Misha Goikhberg. Jonathan Bennet brought up the rear of the 11-car class as he was more than six seconds off Jarvis’ pace driving the only Nissan-powered DPi in the field.
Masson Grabs Pole for Performance Tech
Kyle Masson, the fastest LMP2 driver in Practice 3 earlier on Saturday, repeated the effort in qualifying, delivering Performance Tech Motorsports its first LMP2 pole after it lost out to DragonSpeed and PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports to start the year.
Masson’s best lap, a 1:14.877, came on his penultimate revolution of the permanent road course and was quicker than the slowest DPi car. He was also nearly seven seconds faster than Eric Lux, the qualifying driver of the only other car in the class.
DPi and LMP2 will join the two GT classes for a 20-minute warm-up Sunday at 8 a.m. EDT. The two-hour, 40-minute race will follow at 1:40 p.m. with live coverage beginning 10 minutes earlier on NBCSN.